TUCSON – Jake Amalong is a junior at Sabino High School in the Tucson Unified School District. This school is now caught up in an investigation over an Instagram account that turned into a virtual gossip site.
“They were talking about a couple of teachers and a couple of students, but mostly just like everyone in general,” said Deputy Daniel Jelineo.
“At one point, it took a turn for the worse, and it went from being non-harassing posts to harassing in nature,” said Deputy Daniel Jelineo from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. “Very derogatory comments made, pictures posted.”
According to court documents reviewed by the News 4 Tucson investigators, TUSD officials became concerned after the account surfaced last month and they started looking into who might be responsible.
School administrators did provide information to the school resource officer. They were able to investigate further into the case.
News 4 Tucson Investigators have learned eight students have been questioned. There was also a claim on the account that one student may be a school shooter.
“That threat had been investigated thoroughly by our school resource officer unit,” Jelineo said. “It was determined to be unfounded.”
That is good news for students and people who have kids or grandkids who attend Sabino. However, this also shows the power of social media and how an anonymous account can cause so much disruption.
“You know, the entire country is getting the same way,” said grandparent, Glenn Hotchkiss. “It’s not just this school.”
“A lot of these kids don’t realize the extent of what they’re doing on social media,” Jelineo said. “Some of the stuff they’re doing that they think is harmless is actually a crime.”
TUSD released the following statement in connection to the case.
Tucson Unified School District is aware of a social media account (Instagram) that was created by a student or students at Sabino High School. The investigation revealed that the account was created to receive “anonymous” reports of malicious gossip. The account was deleted as soon as it was reported. Pima County Sheriff’s Department is leading this investigation. If anyone is aware of additional activity or any information on this manner please report it as soon as possible. Tucson Unified wants to be proactive and try to avoid this kind of behavior.
If you have something you would like the News 4 Tucson Investigators to investigate, email us at investigators at kvoa.com or the tipline at 955-4444.